The Gift of the Magi Criticism

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When O. Henry published "The Gift of the Magi," his stories were popular with the reading public and critics alike. For the last ten years of his life, and for ten years or so after that, he was hailed as a master of the short story. Critics ranked him with Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Bret Harte, and his techniques were taught in creative writing courses.

Although O. Henry's characters are often regarded more as types than as unique individuals— vagabonds, shop girls, criminals, cowboys—critics find them likeable, and the writer's use of detail creates a sense that they are "real people." Della and Jim fit this pattern in that the reader knows little about the details of their personalities or backgrounds—just enough to sympathize with their circumstances. Reviewers also find the story typical of O. Henry in its tight structure, humorous tone...

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This section contains 318 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy The Gift of the Magi Study Guide
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The Gift of the Magi from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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